Amidst challenges, Geneva Conventions mark 70 years of ‘limiting brutality’ during war

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UNITED NATIONS, Aug 14 (APP):Diplomats and humanitarian experts on Tuesday praised the 1949 Geneva Conventions that for 70 years have banned attacks on civilians, schools and hospitals while acknowledging an uptick in egregious violations of the laws of war in high-tech modern warfare.

“We are failing the most vulnerable,” Heiko Maas, Germany’s minister for foreign affairs, said at a meeting of the Security Council to mark the birth of the Geneva Conventions in 1949. “We are not living up to our legal and ethical obligations.”

The meeting, convened by Poland’s foreign minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, celebrated the four conventions that have been adopted over the last seven decades to form the body of international humanitarian law but noted that the spirit and letter of the laws are trampled on in modern times by both states and non-state armed extremist groups.